The `ex`tra factor

Non academic activities definitely add value to your application while seeking admission to universities abroad. Gauri Rane finds out why

Non academic activities definitely add value to your application while seeking admission to universities abroad. Gauri Rane finds out why

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy — is a proverb that holds truer today than other time. With scores of applicants wishing to pursue further studies overseas, it is important that your application should stand out stand out distinctively so secure the coveted seat at a college and also for the course of your choice.

According to overseas education counsellor, Alisha Mashruwalla students, who have a good academic record, and a bunch of extracurricular activities including those which exhibit social responsibility, stand a good chance. “Most foreign colleges prefer all-rounders. They are keen to admit students who have a good background of sports, cultural activities, community service etc,” she says.

Students have understood the importance of going that extra mile. Mustafa Warsi, student at University of Cambridge, says “I did a variety of things to ensure that my application stood out.”

Warsi, who was keen on pursuing phyiscs at the undergrad level, volunteered to assist in taking extra lectures of younger students and help his school teachers with reasearch projects. He also spent a summer with a newspaper writing articles, editing and bringing out an edition. “This experience opened new opportunities. I realised that I had a creative side too,” says Warsi.

“There is no hard and fast rule that your CV should have activities connected with the course of your choice,” says Grishma Shah, who completed a business administration course at New York Institute of Technology. A graduate in fashion designing, Shah believes that the fact that her graduate degree was a non-management one was an added advantage.

“Abroad, universities welcome students with varied backgrounds. My class had students who were artists, finance graduates, some from humanities background and so on.” Mashruwala agrees, “A student should be able to convince the admission officers that he/ she is deserving enough to be admitted to their university.”

So what are the popular non academic activities that students can showcase? “Certificates that talk about achievement at national level sports, videos of performances in cultural activities or music performances, letters of appreciation talking about your involvement in social causes can be sent out at the time of application,” says Mashruwalla. She observes a rising trend of students taking up writing.

“Autobiographies, blogs, short books etc are becoming widely popular among students,” she explains.

Art is another area of interest to students. “It pays to have a hobby like painting or designing,” says Krishni Trivedi, student of architecture at University of Arts, London. Apart from her regular assignments, Trivedi volunteers for restructuring and remodeling areas of the campus.

“For such courses, students need to build a portfolio, hold exhibitions, maybe even sell some of their work to show how they fare,” says Mashruwala. Trivedi adds, “Having a hobby can also help in getting work. Extra pocket money never harmed anyone,” she says.

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